Bullying and Safe Schools

Family Concerns About Bullying in School: Steps to Take

1. If you are concerned that a school staff person’s behavior or negligence of staff is endangering a child, call the Student Maltreatment Program, Division of Compliance and Assistance, 651-582-8689. This division oversees implementation of the Maltreatment of Minor’s Act.

2. To help your child you can:

a. Contact the teacher, principal or counselor, or district administrators with your concerns. You may end up at the school board level.

b. Take your child to a pediatrician or family doctor, if the following apply: the child reports injury; the child is exhibiting signs of school aversion (hates going to school, scared to go to school, crying excessively about school or events at schools, extreme drop in grades or has decided to not go to the bathroom during the school day). A doctor may recommend mental health services, or may be able to recommend how to broach the problem with the school.

c. Support the child academically, ensuring that the child takes time to do his/her homework, giving help if you can and checking to see that the homework is complete.

d. Support the child in non-violent problem solving.

e. Repeat family expectations for honesty, responsibility and kindness.

f. When a child has harmed another person, work with the school to help the child change his/her behavior and make amends.

3. Family members can also contact others for help:

a. Local law enforcement.

b. Legal resources for attorneys.

c. The Minnesota School Boards Association website

1900 West Jefferson Avenue

St. Peter, MN 56082

507-931-2450 or 800-324-4459

d. The Minnesota Board of School Administrators website

1500 W Highway 36

Roseville, MN 55113

651-582-8796

(The Minnesota Legislature has established a code of ethics for school administrators.)

e. The Minnesota Board of Teaching for concerns about the ethical behavior of an individual teacher.

Minnesota Board of Teaching

1500 Highway 36 West

Roseville, MN 55113-4266

651-582-8739, TTY: 651-582-8201, Fax number: 651-582-8872

board.teaching@state.mn.us

f. Minnesota Department of Education’s Choice and Innovation Unit website for information on school choice.

4. For discrimination issues, parents can file a complaint with the Minnesota Office of Human Rights (651-296-5663) or with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR regional office is in Chicago.

Office of Civil Rights

United States Department of Education,

111 North Canal Street, Suite 1053,

Chicago, Illinois 60606-7204

312-886-8434

5. In bullying cases or cases of suspensions for rule violations: consider a restorative process to address the harm, working with all parties affected to determine a plan for behavior change, making amends and getting help if needed. For recommendations for restorative process facilitators, contact the Minnesota Restorative Services Coalition.